Mr Neil Hamilton; Mr Rupert Grey (Continued)
1926. That was to take place on 13th May. What I want
to explore now against that background is the sensitive topic
of whether or not money was offered, so you will excuse me if
I put this to you. What we know is that in the spring and summer
of 1987 something changed and the something that is clear is that
cash was being handed over by Mr Al-Fayed. He was handing it over
in two admitted forms and, he will say, two other forms which
are the subject of investigation. He was handing over cash to
Mr Greer. I am leaving to one side the allegation of the 5,000
and other cash payments to Mr Greer but these are the uncontroversial
areas. Page 189 and 191 over to 193: over a fairly brief period
in 1987 in May Mr Al Fayed was handing over £18,000 to Ian
Greer. If you look at page 191, if this is representative of the
other invitation, it was to help one or two Conservative candidates
and that was going to be £6,000 for one or two Conservative
(Mr Hamilton) I think that phrase "one or
two" must not be interpreted literally. .
1927. We know it should not be interpreted literally
now, if page 197 is right, because the money was spread pretty
evenly across a large number of election fighting funds. We know
that that arrangement excluded you. It excluded all those Conservative
MPs who were acting on behalf of Mr Al Fayed. It did not include
yourself, Tim Smith, Andrew Bowden, Michael Grylls.
(Mr Hamilton) It did include Bowden.
1928. Bowden is not in the list if you look at it. He
is in the accruals right at the end, accruals paid 15/7, £5,319.90.
He is not in the list of recipients on this list. That is another
part of the inquiry. But the main players, I hope you will accept
that is the right way of describing you all, you are not on the
list of recipients. Did you know of this arrangement? Did you
know Ian Greer was asking Al Fayed for money?.
(Mr Hamilton) No, not then. It was only as a result
of the libel case that I have become aware of this.
1929. Was it not a topic of conversation at the time?
(Mr Hamilton) Not that I can recall. There is
no reason it should have been. .
1930. What about Mr Bowden? Again you may or may not
know the dates of these conversations but we now know that Mr
Bowden was promised £5,000 worth of assistance on about 2nd
April 1987. This was at a time when the group was occasionally
meeting. Presumably, you would talk to each other on occasions
when you were not formally meeting?.
(Mr Hamilton) I hardly know Andrew Bowden. It
is only as a result of more recent events I have come to know
him at all. He has never been a colleague of mine with whom I
have had any dealings in the past. We have no common interests
apart from being Conservative Members of Parliament, so there
would have been no reason for me, even in the closed world of
the House of Commons, to fall into conversation with him. .
1931. Tim Smith? .
(Mr Hamilton) Again, I encountered Tim Smith as
an officer of the Trade and Industry Committee but, as he pointed
out in the transcript of his own evidence, within the Conservative
Party we come from different wings, we have no social connections
with one another and I would not have regarded him as a friend,
merely an acquaintance.
1932. How close socially were you to Ian Greer or Andrew
Smith at the time?.
(Mr Hamilton) Of course I have been a friend of
Ian Greer since before I became a Member of Parliament. I made
that perfectly clear in my witness statement.
1933. Were you very close - this was an important time
for the Conservative Party, an election either coming up or announced
and here is Mr Greer raising funds for the cause. Were you not
aware of that?.
(Mr Hamilton) I was not aware of it, as far as
I can recall. I knew that Ian had been a Conservative agent many
years ago and, through getting advertising in brochures for Conservative
balls and so on, I knew that he had been involved in fund-raising
for the party, but there has never been the slightest suggestion
he would fund-raise for me. Indeed, it was not necessary. For
one thing my constituency had a large Conservative majority. We
are also an affluent area and we have never had any difficulty
in raising funds locally to not only fund our own organisation
but also to make the contributions which Conservative Central
Office asks constituencies to make. .
1934. You had a common interest here as well as being
friends; you had the common interest of Mohamed Al Fayed. Are
you sure that there was no conversation to the effect that this
is a man who has just agreed to pay me £18,000 or thousands
of pounds? .
(Mr Hamilton) I was wholly unaware of these contributions
from Mr Fayed until they were revealed to me as part of the libel
1935. What is a little odd or worthy of explanation is
that about this time when money is changing hands, money is being
paid by Mr Al Fayed to Mr Greer, you are to see Mr Al Fayed for
the first time alone, or the first time in terms of these documents.
Could you look at page 190. This is a part of the telephone memo
book, book number 27. Message for Mohamed Fayed from Neil Hamilton.
That is your then Cheshire number?.
(Mr Hamilton) Yes.
1936. It says: "Re Tuesday at 11.15. Yes."
Tuesday at 11.15, we can see on page 194, is Tuesday 2nd June,
1987, which, as you have noted in your witness statement, is the
Tuesday before the General Election on the 11th June. And it is
surprising for you to be visiting Al Fayed. You are now in an
election, you have other interests, one hopes, your own and colleagues'
who are standing for Parliament, but here you are travelling from
Cheshire to London to see Al Fayed. Can your recall after all
these years what prompted that meeting?.
(Mr Hamilton) I do not accept, to begin with,
that the meeting did take place. I have not got my own diaries
for the period, as I have already said. I think it would be unlikely
I would come down from Cheshire to London during the General Election
campaign. I cannot wholly exclude that because it might be that
I needed to get something from my office that I had forgotten
to take up at the beginning of the campaign or I might have needed
to come to London for some other political purpose. I remember
in one election campaign there was a rally for candidates somewhere.
I think that was 1983. So it is not axiomatic that I would not,
but I do not recall coming to London at that time. Of course,
I was unaware of this telephone message until it was revealed
in the middle of September 1996, as is very often the way with
Mr Al Fayed and documents in these proceedings. .
1937. Mr Hamilton, we will deal with the authenticity.
(Mr Hamilton) I have no idea whether it is an
authentic document or not.
1938. The phone number is right?.
(Mr Hamilton) The phone number is right, yes,
1939. On the face of it, it looks as if in late May 1987
you are doing a surprising thing and that is either at the request
of Mr Al Fayed, it is unclear, or at your own suggestion, you
are not merely coming to London, that might have another explanation,
but you are going to have a private meeting with him.
(Mr Hamilton) I cannot imagine what possible purpose
that would have served from Mr Al Fayed's point of view in the
middle of a General Election campaign. .
1940. Let me explore that. This is a very anxious time
for Mr Al Fayed. This is the 27th May so assume that he has contacted
you a day or so before, or assume this is the first contact on
27th or 28th May. The DTI inspectors had been appointed on the
9th April. You were part of a meeting/delegation on the 13th May,
1987, if you will take that date from me, and on that date there
had been a minor success in that Mr Aldous had been removed as
one of the inspectors.
On 15th May Henry Brooke, now Lord Justice Brooke, had been appointed
so two things had happened: the DTI Inspectors had been appointed
and now it was moving on. There were things to be done and Mr
Al Fayed must have been very concerned about it. You say why would
he want to see you but we know that at about that time, give or
take a few days, if Mr Tim Smith's evidence is right, he was seeing
Mr Al Fayed privately and was being offered, or requesting, £5,000.
(Mr Hamilton) That was not, as I understand it,
in the middle of the General Election campaign. I think the point
to make about this is that during a General Election campaign
there are no Members of Parliament. Parliament is not in existence.
It is not possible for Members of Parliament to do anything for
any practical purpose at any rate for somebody like Mr Al Fayed
because they are running for re-election. .
1941. So why are you seeing him on the 2nd June, assuming
that date is right?.
(Mr Hamilton) I am not going to assume that date
is right. I will give you another interpretation of this message,
that the entry in the diary might well have been an arrangement
that was entered into before we knew the General Election was
going to take place, that the entry was not subsequently erased
when the meeting was cancelled, that this message in the telephone
message pad could have been a call from me to say I cannot come
to London on 2nd June after all because we are in the middle of
the General Election campaign and the tick and the yes were subsequently
added to the message. I could not get through to Mr Al Fayed (on
the evidence of Ms Bond and Miss Bozek as to the purpose served
by this message pad). I presume I did not talk to him as a result
of this call and that I therefore left a message to say that I
needed to talk to Mr Al Fayed about a meeting next week that cannot
take place. I have no idea at this distance in time whether I
rang them, they rang me or what. .
1942. Mr Hamilton, what you would be saying is - note
the date, the 28th May, which is some days after the announcement
of the General Election - what you would be saying, if that analysis
is right, is "No, cancel the meeting for 2nd June",
something like that. You would not have a message, unless this
is an entirely phoney message: "Re Tuesday 11.15" -
it would not be to talk about the meeting. What is reasonably
clear is that it has been set up as a meeting on 2nd June.
(Mr Hamilton) I do not think there is anything
suspicious about setting up a meeting because that could well
have been done and probably was done.
1943. Mr Grey might want to talk to you. .
(Mr Hamilton) (After taking advice) Mr
Grey points out to me, it is quite right of course, that the message
is not dated, similarly there is not an initial for anybody who
took the message, the handwriting on top of the message sheet
appears to be different from the handwriting that is half way
down, the tick and the yes are at a different angle from the rest
of the message, we do not know what Tuesday is referred to, and
it is difficult in those circumstances to draw any conclusion
from it at all. I do not know if the inquiry has been given sight
of the original documents. I have certainly never seen these message
pads. I wonder why they did not appear until the middle of September
when, if they have assumed the importance which clearly they now
have, it must have been obvious to Mr Al Fayed and his advisers
that they ought to have been produced as part of the documentation
for the libel action. I have another interpretation which I hope
we will come to due course as to why this message pad was produced
at the time that it was, and it reflects very much upon the role
the employee witnesses were to play in the course of the libel
action and which role they play in the course of this inquiry.
1944. Mr Hamilton, what I am trying to look at is the
document that we have. The position, you have explained, is that
you have not got any diaries yourself for 1987. Are there any
private diaries you would have kept at home, any other documentation
that could throw any light on what appears from the documents
to be very obvious was happening in 1987. If you turn to page
194 there is no line through your name for 2nd June, you are not
replaced by somebody else. .
(Mr Hamilton) (After taking advice) Would
you like to repeat the question? .
1945. Could we again take it shortly. If these two documents
are genuine, if they say what they do say and you did attend a
meeting on the 2nd June, it would be odd, it would be very odd.
(Mr Hamilton) It would certainly be unusual. I
have no difficulty in agreeing with that.
1946. This would be your first meeting, according to
these documents, alone with Mr Al Fayed at a time when there is
no real reason for seeing him at all.
(Mr Hamilton) I cannot speculate on why I did
see him in May or June or whenever in 1987. We have no notes of
any meetings that took place. These events occurred many years
ago. I had not thought about them for many years before the libel
action commenced. I dispute I did attend this meeting which is
referred to in Mr Al Fayed's diary. We have no way of knowing
one way or the other. It may have been another reason for me to
come to London. It would have been possible for me to meet him,
of course, but I have no recollection of this meeting, he cannot
say what transpired at this meeting, and I would have thought
at best from the point of view of this inquiry these documents
are neutral even if you accept their authenticity.
1947. Let me put the suggestion to you, Mr Hamilton -
and we know at this time that this is something we can be reasonably
certain about - that there has been a change in the relationship
between Mr Al Fayed and his team because he has paid one of his
(Mr Hamilton) Yes, but let us put that into context
as well. We know that as far back as the 4th February Tim Smith
was referred to as being offered a consultancy by Mr Al Fayed.
That is referred to in question 1027 of Tim Smith's evidence.
He followed that up with a discussion in May 1987, question 1038.
That is the meeting at which he now admits he was paid. I was
never in receipt of any invitation to become parliamentary adviser
or consultant to Al Fayed, to the House of Fraser, or anything
else. There has never been any suggestion that I would be paid
and to connect me in the way that you are seeking to connect Tim
Smith, I think, is quite unsupportable. .
1948. Let me go on with the suggestion because, as you
say, it is no more than attempting to bring some parts of the
evidence together. Yes, of course we have the February discussion
and the February letter. We have the replacement of Sir Andrew
Bowden and the message saying that we can use Tim Smith in other
ways, which is what follows that letter you have referred to,
but if we assume this, which is I hope clear, that one or other
of those two men was taking money, either Sir Andrew Bowden -
the £5,000 offer that was referred to, or the £5,000
cash Al Fayed refers to which Sir Andrew disputes, or Tim Smith,
we know that he was receiving £5,000 in cash in an envelope
at that time, then is it inconceivable that you would have heard
(Mr Hamilton) Inconceivable that I heard about
Tim Smith being paid? I knew nothing about that until I read the
transcript of his evidence. .
1949. You would have heard about it from Mr Smith, although
that is unlikely, or more likely Mr Greer or Mr Al Fayed?.
(Mr Hamilton) Mr Greer knew nothing about it,
as he assures me and as his evidence states, and I knew nothing
about Tim Smith's financial arrangements with Mr Al Fayed until
I was informed by Richard Ryder, then Chief Whip, when The
Guardian allegations were published, that he was going to
resign because he was going to admit to having had a financial
relationship with Mr Al Fayed. He received fees, as he described
it in his resignation letter. That was the first time I knew that
Tim Smith had received any payment at all, which would have been
the 19th or 20th October 1994. .
19 Note by witness: It was Mr Heslop QC who